There are few things as frightening as when the bank seeks to repossess your house because you have failed to follow through on your payments. There are ways to fight, delay, or even avoid a foreclosure in Florida, with the help of an experienced attorney. This article explains:
- How to delay the foreclosure process with the help of a foreclosure defense attorney,
- How to negotiate and potentially even reverse a foreclosure decision in Florida, and
- What banks can do, during and beyond the foreclosure, to seize what is owed.
How Long Does The Foreclosure Process Typically Take In Florida?
If you fail to do anything to defend against a foreclosure, you could have your house foreclosed and go to a judicial sale in less than 90 days. However, this should never be allowed to happen if you act fast and get the help of a foreclosure attorney.
The day you get served with a complaint, you have 20 days to respond. If you don’t respond, the bank can move for a default judgment on you starting on the 21st day. Within 20 days of that, they can have the default judgment entered against you and then 30 days from then have a foreclosure sale against you.
Ten days after the foreclosure sale, they can have a certificate of title issued presenting or granting the property to the current owner. So within 20, 40, 70, or 80 days, you could lose your home.
If you properly defend it, however, it could take much, much longer. With the help of effective foreclosure attorneys, certain foreclosures have been known to last over a decade.
What Is The Role Of A Foreclosure Defense Attorney In Florida?
Florida has fantastic homeowner rights, which foreclosure defense attorneys can use in your defense against foreclosure.
Many states do not care as much about homeowners’ rights, but in Florida, there are a lot of homeowner protection rights. A good foreclosure defense attorney’s job is to make sure that the bank can prove their case and hold them accountable and honest.
A foreclosure defense attorney can impose an overview and make sure that the bank, or those who claim to be the bank, are truly entitled to foreclosure. A good foreclosure defense attorney will make sure that you get all your legal rights represented and make sure that your home is not unjustly taken from you.
What Are Some Strategies For Negotiating With Lenders In A Florida Foreclosure Case?
Negotiating is quite difficult when dealing with banks, as they are pretty much an all-or-nothing taker. Banks want every single dollar that they are owed plus a bunch of sometimes grandiose, often semi-fictitious money it claims to be owed.
It is difficult to negotiate down the price of the home, though it is not unheard of. It is easier to do if you are doing a short sale, but that is often not necessary anymore. If you have owned your home for the last few years, there is a good chance that you have equity in it. Generally, banks do not want to negotiate down if there is equity in the home.
The main strategies for negotiating with banks revolve around making it difficult for them to foreclose and then using those difficulties or delays. A good foreclosure defense attorney will try to find weaknesses in their case, to see if perhaps they cannot truly prove it after all, or at least make it difficult for them to do so.
This gives you an opportunity to potentially negotiate down, either towards a lower repayment amount or to return to paying monthly payments with perhaps a little less money due. So while it is difficult to negotiate with banks, there are other options for getting homeowners to a better outcome. Though each might be different for every case.
Under What Circumstances Can A Foreclosure Be Reversed In Florida?
Your ability to reverse a foreclosure in Florida depends on how far along you are in the foreclosure process. If a judgment has just been entered, it is possible to undo it. If the home has been sold to a third-party purchaser already, that might be too late.
If the bank forecloses on you and the property goes for foreclosure sale and some third party purchases your home, it becomes very difficult to undo that. You will not, generally, be able to get the house back and might only be able to get monetary damages or compensation. Which is the best you could hope for at that point.
Thus reversing a foreclosure is very dependent on the timing and the facts and contexts of the case at the time. Because your chances decrease dramatically as you wait, it is important you reach out to a foreclosure defense attorney immediately if your home is in danger of being foreclosed.
Does The Mortgage Lender Have To Get Permission From The State Before Initiating A Foreclosure On A Homeowner In Florida?
The state does not need to give permission or approval to the mortgage lender to initiate the foreclosure process. However, before they finalize a foreclosure, there will be a final judgment entered by a judge.
The process for starting a foreclosure is pretty straightforward. In virtually every standard bank mortgage, they will need to send a foreclosure letter as a prerequisite, a filing complaint, or initiating foreclosure.
Then, after that, they have to file a foreclosure case with the court and file proper summons against the homeowners. This can be further complicated for VA loans, specifically for veterans, where other mandated things need to be done before the foreclosure, such as credit counseling. All of which need to be done beforehand as well.
Can A Homeowner Redeem The Property During Foreclosure?
There is a small window in which you can redeem the property and repurchase it during the foreclosure process. You have the undeniable right to redeem the property by paying for it, at the foreclosure price, as well as, potentially, all the money due, and the money due before the foreclosure judgment is entered.
Can You Be Foreclosed On During A Loan Modification?
Unfortunately, you can be foreclosed on during a loan modification. While there is, generally speaking, a moratorium or a desire not to do this, called dual tracking, seeking foreclosure and obtaining a foreclosure during the loan modification review is not impossible. As a result, many banks still will foreclose on you during a loan modification.
Can A Bank Garnish My Wages For Foreclosure In Florida?
A bank cannot garnish your wages as a direct part of the foreclosure process, but they can do so afterward.
A foreclosure is just, for all practical purposes, a judgment for damages that are going to be covered by the sale of your property. Thus it only involves seizing the property.
The bank can go one step further afterward, however. If they sell the property for less than the money owed, they have one year from the date of the foreclosure to determine if they are going to sue you for the remainder of the balance.
For example, if you owe a hundred thousand dollars and they sell the property for $80,000, they might sue you for the $20,000 difference. They have one year to determine if they wish to do so, but it is a separate lawsuit. If they choose to do so and are victorious in that second lawsuit, then they have the opportunity to start garnishing your wages.
For more information on the Process Of Foreclosure In The State Of Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step to protecting your home. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 266-7822 today.